The Style Invitational Week 758 Wrong Address
Saturday, March 29, 2008; C02
Four score and seven years ago our
fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
In this day of the three-second sound bite -- not to mention seamless digital editing -- any politician who makes any utterance in the vicinity of a recording device risks having his words taken wildly out of context: Parts of his comments might be deleted or even rearranged, transmogrifying sensible discourse into outrageous "quotes."
But why should contemporary public figures suffer this fate alone? This week: Using any of the words of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, in whatever order you like, create your own passage. Given that there are only 140 or so unique words in this exquisitely eloquent gem of a speech -- barely more than half the number in "The Cat in the Hat," which the Losers similarly deconstructed a year ago -- you may pull out a portion of a word to use as a full word, such as "cat" from "dedicated." You may repeat a word in your passage even if it appears only once in the actual text.
Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives the really ugly ceramic alligator-head coin bank pictured here, a souvenir of Gainesville, Fla., home of the University of Florida Gators and not coincidentally of J. Larry Schott, the Loser who sent it to us. While of course it would look lovely on a massive rosewood desk, or perhaps on a vanity next to the crystal bottle of Jean Patou's Joy, the Empress would opt to install it, facing upward, inside a toilet bowl.
Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to email@example.com or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, April 7. Put "Week 758" in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published April 26. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's results is by Beverley Sharp. This week's Honorable Mentions name is by Russell Beland.
Report From Week 754, in which we supplied a list of famous personages and asked you to note "uncanny similarities" between any two:
4. Tiger Woods and Moses:
Both have little trouble negotiating water hazards. Getting out of the sand, a
different story. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills; Ellen Raphaeli,
3. Napoleon Bonaparte said,
"Able was I ere I saw
2. The winner of the driver's-lap-size Beat the Beltway board game,
At one point in
his life, a woman sent Moses adrift in the
And the Winner of the Inker
Eleanor Roosevelt lived with
a president who had an affair. Bill Clinton wants to live with a president who
lived with a president who had an affair. (Larry Yungk,
Beyond Compare: Honorable Mentions
Morticia Addams was 223 years old and looked 26.
Britney Spears is 26 years
old and looks 223. (Ira Allen,
Montgomery Burns and Britney Spears are both associated with spectacular meltdowns. (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)
Tiger Woods is famous for his putts.
As is Bill Clinton. (Jay
In 1946, Bill Clinton and
Mohandas K. Gandhi were both wearing diapers. (George Smith,
Eleanor Roosevelt and Bill
Clinton were each married to someone with bad legs. (N.G. Andrews,
Smuts played a big role in Mohandas K. Gandhi's life, while smut's played a big role in Bill Clinton's life. (Chris Doyle)
Moses came down from
Britney Spears was carried to
Both Gandhi and Clinton
subscribed to the notion that "no one is untouchable." (Robert
Moses and Britney Spears:
Both cases suggest that sometimes a baby is safer floating down the river in a
homemade wicker basket than staying with his mother. (Christopher Short,
Eleanor Roosevelt and Bill
Clinton: In private, Hillary Clinton still speaks to Eleanor. In public, she
still speaks to Bill. (Russell Beland,
Britney Spears and Gandhi
were equally good-looking when bald. (Peter Metrinko,
Groucho Marx said, "A woman is an occasional pleasure, but a cigar is always a smoke."
Bill Clinton just combined the two. (Randy Lee, Burke)
Both Moses and Bill Clinton will be forever associated with the phrase "go down." (N.G. Andrews)
Moses said, "Do not commit adultery."
Eleanor Roosevelt reputedly had an affair with a woman named Lorena.
Some people wish Bill Clinton had had an affair with a woman named Lorena. (Chris Doyle)
Both Gandhi and Montgomery Burns were told not to have a cow. (Russell Beland)
Groucho enjoyed a cigar in
Morticia Addams: Appeared regularly in the New Yorker.
Bill Clinton: Appears regularly with a "New Yorker." (Jay Shuck)
Next Week: Take Another 'Whack, or The One-Hit Parade